Admitting that this hasn’t exactly been a very exciting campaign, Bob Buckhorn said today’s municipal election in Tampa is still very important.
“Everyone has an obligation to vote,” the mayor declared while coming out of a polling place at the Sandy Freedman Tennis Courts center on Davis Island this morning. “If you don’t vote, don’t complain.”
Accompanied by his wife, Dr. Cathy Lynch Buckhorn, along with their two daughters, Grace and Colleen, Tampa’s First Family came out of the voting booth a little after 7:30 this morning. Having been involved in a number of elections over the years, the 56-year-old mayor said that what he feels is different about this election is the sense of optimism that he feels the city is feeding on.
It’s certainly been a successful four years for Buckhorn no matter how you analyze it, and it’s been obvious since early on in his first term that he was never going to face serious competition for re-election. As it’s turned out, he almost really doesn’t have a challenger. The only declared candidate is the very flawed Jose Vazquez, who did not qualify to make it on the ballot, and can only collect votes if people write in his name on the ballot.
“It’s much less stressful this way, than it was the last go round, a much more comfortable feeling,” said Dr. Lynch Buckhorn, the mayor’s wife, who is a distinguished medical professional. The associate vice president of the College of Medicine’s Obstetrics & Gynecology at USF, Mrs. Buckhorn said it’s been “fun” being Tampa’s First Lady, adding that she has her own day job, “but it’s exciting to see my husband having great fun doing what he’s wanted to do for so long, and have great success at it.”
As he’s talked about during this lackluster campaign devoid of drama, Buckhorn expects most of the current Council to return to office. There are two seats in which there is not an incumbent on the ballot, but it doesn’t feel that way in the citywide District 2 race, where longtime Council member Charlie Miranda is running for the open seat against challengers Julie Jenkins and Joe Citro. Buckhorn wouldn’t lay the odds on whether or not Miranda wins the race outright tonight or is forced into a runoff, but he gave a pretty full throated endorsement for the man whom he ran against for mayor back in 2003.
“I think Charlie’s very strong citywide,” he said. “I think he’s got a lot of credibility. I think he’s a household name. I think he has a record he can stand on. He’s been a great partner for me, and I’d like to see that continue. “
Buckhorn says he prefers to have the rest of current council re-elected.
“I think the council we’ve had for the last four years has been a good council. They’ve been supportive of the vast majority of things we’ve tried to do,” though he acknowledged that “There are always going to be those who choose a different path, and that’s fine.”
Did that across-the-board love for the current council include District 3 incumbent Yolie Capin, who rumor had it that the mayor was actively encouraging challengers to run against her?
Buckhorn wouldn’t say whether he voted for Capin or her opponent, Paul Erni.
“I’m not telling you how I voted in there,” he said, as he, his wife and reporters all shared a laugh.